Chaos in road transport sector remains rampant in the country. Passengers’ sufferings have been doubled lately as public transport fare has been hiked. This led to several untoward incidents in various places. At the same time, road accidents and deaths have increased due to rash driving especially by reckless motorbikes.
According to investigations, motorbike accidents occur due to reckless speed, attempts to overtake, repeated lane changes, not following traffic rules and talking on mobile phones while on the move. Accidents are also on the rise due to not using helmets or using low quality helmets. According to the Passenger Welfare Association, about 80 per cent of those killed in motorcycle accidents are under the age of 21.
As per Nirapad Sarak Chai, the citizens' organisation for road safety, there were 3,232 road accidents in the country in 2020, of which 1,127 were motorcycle accidents. Of these, 29 per cent were accidents with trucks and 22 per cent with buses. According to BUET's ARI, 336 people were killed in 288 motorcycle accidents in 2016. In 2020, the number of accidents stood at 1,008 in which 1,097 people died.
According to BRTA, the number of registered motorcycles in the country has increased from 750,000 in 2010 to 3.4 million till October this year. Apart from this, there are a significant number of unregistered motorcycles in different parts of the country. Many parents buy motorbikes for their teenage children. Many teenagers borrow or rent motorbikes. No one under the age of 18 gets a driving license and therefore those riders are not aware of traffic rules.
This number not only raises concern, it also paints a picture of the horrific anarchy in road transport. In addition to reckless motorcycling, not wearing a standard helmet is also one of the causes of accidents. Wearing a good quality helmet reduces the risk of fatal injury.
In many parts of the world, children under the age of 18 are not allowed to ride motorcycles. But in Bangladesh, boys under the age of 18 are also riding motorcycles. Proper enforcement of the law is as important as the parents must be aware.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Thursday, the passenger welfare association demanded that the bus fare should be reduced and the anarchy in the seating service and collecting extra fare should be stopped. If the authorities want to maintain order on the road, they must pay attention to these demands.
The association alleges that the leaders of the Dhaka Transport Owners' Association, despite repeated announcements of shutting down the so-called 'seating service', did not implement it, which cannot be allowed to happen. There is no reason to increase bus fare more than the rate at which oil prices have risen.
In order to restore peace and order on the roads, unreasonable increase in fares on public transport should be stopped. At the same time, any vehicle including motorcycles must comply with the existing traffic rules. It should be kept in mind that anarchy on the road is not only a problem for the passengers but also for the transport owners and the workers.